Over 60% of the 2011 Indiana budget is going to whatever politicians and their lobbyists call “education.” Over the past several decades, the percentage of those billions that gets to the classroom has dropped to less than 60%. Our embarrassingly high percentage of administrative buildings and personnel, and the absurd cost of sports programs that serve a tiny percentage of elite students is inexcusable as average students get fat and fall behind their overseas peers. American schooling is by far the most expensive, and among the least effective, in the world.
So it’s fine that there’s been talk of school funding, teachers’ unions, pensions, student nutrition and the taxation and spending rules that we’re told have something to do with learning. Yet amidst all the chatter over vouchers, Charter Schools, “investment in our future,” and of course, sports, I’ve so far heard nothing that is both workable, and legal.
It is suspicious that Article 8 of Indiana’s Constitution appeared on the last day of the 1851 constitutional convention without a word of debate. The person who transcribed the article (perhaps he wrote it himself?) was Robert Owen, Jr., son of the New Harmony commune’s founder, and ally of the “progressive” educator, Horace Mann. Yet commie plot or not, the Indiana Constitution’s Article 8, Section I, does now “provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.”
The constitution and historical context are unmistakable. “Common Schools” were the uniform (as in identical) system of tax-subsidized schools promoted by Mann as the “ladder of opportunity” to educate poor kids without religious influences. And Common Schools are not compulsory; parents are free to choose non tax-funded alternatives. And the phrase, “tuition shall be without charge,” has been clarified many times over the years as meaning only tuition. So legally, even poor parents must find money for books, lunch, transportation, and in fact everything but tuition. Sports were certainly not part of school. Besides, that’s what parks and public gymnasiums were for; so that even kids who weren’t in school had something to do.
Article 8, Section 2 mandates a Common School Trust Fund derived from corporate taxes and other statewide sources that forbid any local funding, like personal property tax, because we don’t need the brute force of politics to achieve inequality between rich and poor areas. In fact, Article 4, Section 22 says, “The General Assembly shall not pass local or special laws… Providing for the support of common schools, or the preservation of school funds.”
Of course Article 8 wasn’t necessary. There already was a rapidly-developing system of “Free and Fee” schools, but almost all of the tuition-free schools were run by churches. Churches had been America’s Department of Health, Education and Welfare before we gave everything unto Caesar and his non-voluntary collection plate. However, churches are, as you have no doubt heard, religious. And Article I, Section 6 of the new constitution decreed that “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution.” So yes, Indiana legally gave at least something unto Caesar.
However, both state and federal constitutions forbid politicians and bureaucrats the monopoly power over education they now exert. And though many of us are opposed to any socialized education on moral, religious and practical grounds, Indiana’s original socialists came up with a far more reasonable scheme than what we’ve devolved to now.
Maybe online education from India and China could break our governments’ unconstitutional, monopolistic stranglehold, and drop the now crazy costs. I hope so. It would be the best thing to happen to Hoosier kids in decades. I wish I could be the one to sell it.
I spent a lot of time at the 4-H fair when I was a kid, and I spent a lot of time at the 4-H fair when my kids were kids, and I suspect I’ll spend a lot of time at the 4-H fair when my grand kids get a little older. I never won a lot of blue ribbons, but I always felt 4-H was a worthy program, for people that were interested in that sort of thing. I also understand that there are people who don’t feel that way.
This week, The Wayne County Commissioners decided not to replace a retiring person who worked with the 4-H program. People who want to use tax dollars to support 4-H quickly pointed out that there were other programs that should be trimmed before 4-H was trimmed. Of course, people who want tax dollars spent on those other programs were quick to disagree.
We see that a lot when government takes money from people and funds things it really shouldn’t be funding. Especially when it starts running out of money. It’s not a new phenomenon by any means. I wrote this piece a few years ago, and things are still about the same, so I thought I’d say it again. The issues may change, but the principle remains the same:
Several years ago, there was a rather animated woman who attended our church regularly. On one particular Sunday, she was caught up in the spirit when the preacher began lambasting the evils of strong drink, promiscuity and adultery. However, when he scolded the use of snuff, she let him know in no uncertain terms that he had crossed the line of preaching, and he was now simply meddling.
In the Libertarian crusade for smaller government, we run into that same line of thinking quite often. I think it’s safe to say that most people are justifiably upset when the government gives McDonalds, (a company that earns $40 billion a year), $1.6 million taxpayer dollars to help them advertise overseas. People also take offense when giant corporations like IBM receive billions, or when Ernest and Julio Gallo pull down a cool $5 million.
When we get a little closer to home, however, people get a little more selective in their disapproval. A friend of mine used to be adamant in his condemnation of able-bodied people who drew welfare payments. He was also quite defensive if someone brought up the fact that he received more subsidies than any other farmer in Wayne County. Likewise, a lot of people who are opposed to farm subsides have no objections when public monies are used to bribe a business to locate in their community. Unless, of course, those monies are given as grants and subsidies to a company that produces ethanol, in which case all bets are off.
Truth be told, most of us probably have a few government programs that we would like to keep around, and several that we would like to see abolished. And most of those programs, like them or not, require tax dollars to operate. Usually a lot of tax dollars.
A long time ago, voters decided to give the government the power to seize money from one group or individual, and give it to another group or individual, in order to fund these programs. The problem is, when you give one group of legislators the power to take your neighbors money and give it to you, you also give them the power to take your money and give it to somebody else. You lose the power to choose. As a result, the American taxpayer on average now spends 47% of his or her income supporting those programs, or paying the increased cost the programs create through over-regulation and red-tape.
Here in Indiana, we’re experiencing a property-tax meltdown. In search of a solution, elected and prospective legislators are scrambling to come up with different ways to raise enough money to fund everyone’s pet programs in the state, while their federal counterparts do the same. But maybe that’s not the solution we need to be looking for. Maybe the best solution lies in limiting the role of government, and in turn limiting the number of programs it can create.
For starters, let’s get the federal government back to what it was intended to do. Simply put, protect us from force and fraud, foreign and domestic. Otherwise, stay out of our personal lives. Stay out of my home, stay out of my school, and as long as I’m not defrauding anybody, stay out of my business. I’m sure there will be a lot of discussions and arguments about what constitutes force and fraud, and what we should do to protect against them, but surely we can agree that giving money to Ronald McDonald doesn’t qualify. At the least, it’s a place to start.
Next stop, state and local government. I have to believe we can come up with a better way to fund the constitutionally mandated duties we have given to our governing bodies other than property taxes, which deny the right to really own property, or income taxes that serve to punish hard work and success. Along with lessening the questionable duties that government has assumed, we need to start transferring the funding of those duties to sales taxes and user fees, capped at reasonable limits, which would more evenly distribute the load, and give people at least a modicum of control over the amount of taxes they pay.
It won’t happen over night, and it won’t happen without resistance. It will take a change in attitude, an attitude that personal freedom and personal responsibility are more important than government control. And it will take eternal vigilance, because there will always be citizens and bureaucrats that believe they have a prior claim to your money and property.
But when enough people decide they are no longer capable of supporting every program that our legislators are capable of dreaming up, and vote accordingly, at least we will have a fighting chance.
I took a road trip Mississippi last weekend. I usually have my wife beside me on such trips, and I rely on her to read the maps and tell me when I need to make a turn. Since she was already in Mississippi this time, I decided I’d get some directions from MapQuest to study before I left. And since I probably wouldn’t be able to read the MapQuest instructions while I was driving, I also plugged one of those talking GPS machines into the cigarette lighter, just in case I forgot an exit number somewhere along the way.
It worked out pretty well for the most part, except that the lady on the GPS telling me what to do didn’t always agree with the guy that works at MapQuest. I guess there’s more than one way to get to Mississippi, and I’m still not sure which one of them had the best plan. I will say the lady on the GPS got awfully upset whenever I pulled off of the road to get some gas, or to get a Mountain Dew, or to get rid of one. Or when I decided to listen to the MapQuest guy instead of her.
We tend to get a lot of advice in our lives, both solicited and unsolicited, good and not so good, relevant and irrelevant. I think it’s good to have some idea about where you are and where you want to end up before you decide which of it to take.
Several years ago, my wife Susan and I took the family to Chicago for the weekend. We tried to make an adventure out of it by riding the train up and back. The real adventure started when we were boarding the train to come back to Hagerstown on Sunday afternoon.
Turns out that Amtrak had sold more tickets than they had seats on the train, and after the girls climbed on, the conductor closed the door and informed the boys that we would have to find an alternative way home. When Susan explained to him that I had already spent way too much time in Chicago, and that it would be in everybodys’ best interest to get me out of town as soon as possible, he found a couple of fold-down seats and a 5 gallon bucket for me and my sons so we could make our escape.
I never had any desire to return to Chicago. Still don’t. But a couple of years ago I went out to Washington D.C. On the way back, the plane I was on had to land in Chicago. As it turned out, Chicago wouldn’t let my plane leave Washington on time, and when I did manage to make it to Chicago, they had sent my flight to Indianapolis on without me. I finally made it home in about the same amount of time it would have required to drive from Washington to Hagerstown. And I wouldn’t have had to go through Chicago.
Last weekend, I took Susan to the Dayton airport so she could fly to Memphis to babysit for our newest grandson for the week.
Of course, her flight had to make a quick stop in Chicago. 13 hours later she arrived in Memphis.
I drove to Memphis to pick her up in under 10 hours. And I stopped to get something to eat. Twice.
I read the other day that the courts had decided that Rahm Emanuel was qualified to be the mayor of Chicago. I was glad to hear it.
I hope he runs, and I hope he wins.
Chicago deserves him.
JFK reportedly said that “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.” Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have agreed with John on a lot of topics, but I think he was pretty close to the money on this one.
Some people over in Egypt who have been living under a virtual dictator for 30 years decided it was time for a change, and since peaceful revolutions don’t seem to carry a lot of weight with dictators, some of their demonstrations have turned out to be pretty violent. I don’t know if it qualifies as a full blown revolution yet. Hopefully their ruler, Mr. Mubarak, will step aside and make a peaceful revolution possible. Peaceful revolutions don’t seem to create as many hard feelings and funerals as the violent ones.
I hope the people in Egypt decide they want true freedom, and not just a different dictator. Time will tell, I suppose. Of course, any time you get a large group of people together, you’re bound to have a few that lose sight of the goal. While some were protesting against the government, others were looting, stealing and destroying property. (They’ll probably be the ones working for the new government).
I’m holding onto hope that the majority of the demonstrators, and the majority of people in Egypt envision less government and a more free society than they currently have. I’m not sure the ones that just wanted to take other peoples stuff share that vision.
We saw demonstrations last year, in Greece and England, where the protestors wanted more government and less freedom. Those governments were running out of money, and when they started cutting back on handouts, the protestors demanded higher taxes on the taxpayers to keep their funds flowing. I had a little less sympathy for those protests.
Here in the United States, we have a lot of different types and groups of people. Some of those people want more government, and some want less government. Some want more freedom, and some want less freedom. Some people want to control other people, and some people don’t. There isn’t always a distinct line between groups, but over the years, the groups that tend to want more government seem to have gained the upper hand. This has tended to upset the group that wants less government. Of course, when they start working to bring about less government, that tends to upset the group that wants more government.
Most of the time these differing groups have been able to co-exist, even if they
get mad at each other a lot. The problem is, our officials have been spending to much money and making to many promises, and before to long, the government is either going to have to take even more money from the people that want less government, or quit giving so much money to the people that want more government.
That’s the kind of things that bring about revolutions.
I pray that it is peaceful.
My wife Susan and I recently took a little vacation to either celebrate or commemorate our 35th wedding anniversary. I’m not sure which. I guess it depends whose point of view you’re looking from. The first part of the trip consisted of getting on an airplane and flying to California. I’ve never been a big fan of flying.
I’ve read all the statistics about how flying is safer than driving based on the number of miles traveled, and I have no reason to doubt that those statistics are accurate. But for me, it’s not just about being safe. For me, it’s more about having some control over my life. I know every time I get behind the wheel of my truck, I run the risk of someone else pulling out in front of me, or crossing the centerline and running into me, or even crashing into me while I’m sitting at a stop sign. But I also know that as long as I’m behind the wheel, I have the option of paying enough attention to avoid being caught up in any of those scenarios. Not to say that I will, but at least I have the option.
I didn’t see that option when I was on the airplane. I’m sure the pilot was very qualified, but I couldn’t be sure he wasn’t changing the radio station, or thinking about what he was going to get his wife for their anniversary, instead of watching for that airplane that might be pulling out from behind that big cloud up ahead on the right.
I’ve always preferred to have as much control over my life as possible. That’s probably why I decided to start my own business years ago, and it’s also why I’m a Libertarian.
I’ve seen government expand a great deal in the 59 years that I’ve been around. Every expansion has taken a little more control away from the individual and given a little more control to the government. Slowly but surely we have moved closer to what Ayn Rand called the ultimate inversion, where government is free to do as it pleases, and citizens may act only with permission. We may disagree on how close we are to that situation, but most would agree that we have less control over our lives than we had 59 years ago. Or ten years ago. Or two years ago.
Some people don’t seem to have a problem with that. Just like some people don’t seem to have a problem with flying. And it doesn’t particularly bother me if some people want the government to control their retirement, or their health care, or how big their bedroom windows have to be, or how much education their barber or hairdresser has to have before they can be a barber or a hairdresser. Just like it doesn’t particularly bother me if someone wants to fly everywhere they go.
It does, however, bother me that people who want somebody else to control their lives feel the need to have someone else control mine. Regardless of how much control other people want the government to have over their lives, I’ve never understood their compulsion to have it control everybody else.
I hope that doesn’t make me sound like I’m out of control.
With all the disinformation and historical revisionism buzzing like flies on politics (even with the “Tea Party” as much as anywhere else), I just had to present what I believe to be the facts.
So here’s an annotated USA constitution again: https://wedeclare.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/annotated-usa-constitution.pdf
You really didn’t have to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night to know what he said. And you didn’t have to listen to the Republican response to know what it said.
Just as the President’s speech was written beforehand, so was the Republican response.
We all know what a state our Union is in. The problem is the Democrats and Republicans either don’t know or won’t admit how it got there, and they certainly are not willing to take the steps necessary to fix it.
I imagine Wes Benedict, over at Libertarian Party Headquarters, also had his response prepared ahead of time. Libertarians have realized for a long time what caused the state we are in, just like they’ve realized for a long time that doing more of the same thing we’ve been doing won’t fix the state we’re in.
Here is Wes’s response. I know it makes more sense than what I suspect those other guys said.
A transcript of Mr. Benedict’s speech follows:
Good evening and thank you for your interest in the State of our Union.
My name is Wes Benedict. I’m the executive director of the Libertarian National Committee here in Washington, DC. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace.
Tonight we heard from President Barack Obama and a response from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.
President Obama says he wants a freeze in non-security, discretionary spending. In the unlikely event that happens, it won’t really matter, because to make a real dent in the deficit, it’s necessary to cut spending on the military and entitlements. The president promised big government in the past, and he delivered. I expect more of the same.
However, Obama has truly been a hypocrite on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a candidate, he promised to end them. Tonight we heard more hollow promises. The fact is, as president, he has kept those wars going, and has greatly escalated the war in Afghanistan. As a percentage of GDP, military spending is higher now than it was during any year of the George W. Bush administration.
Unlike President Obama, Libertarians would bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and reduce the military budget.
On the Republican side, I found Congressman Paul Ryan’s hypocrisy appalling. He claims to want big cuts in government spending. But he didn’t seem to be too worried about cutting spending when Republicans were in charge. He supported the huge Medicare expansion in 2003, and the expensive No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. He supports the expensive War on Drugs. In 2008, he put hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk by voting for the massive TARP bailout, and he even voted to spend billions on the GM and Chrysler bailout.
Just one month ago, Congressman Ryan voted for the tax compromise that included a big increase in unemployment spending, and even extensions of government spending on ethanol.
Republicans don’t want to cut spending — they want to talk about cutting spending.
Congressman Paul Ryan is a perfect example of why Republicans are bad for America.
Republicans’ plans for Social Security and Medicare are little more than a distraction. It’s time for someone to have the guts to tell seniors the truth: You were promised way too much, and now we’ve got to make major cuts. I’m asking retirees to think about the enormous debts piling up on your children and grandchildren.
Libertarians would stop spending billions on bailouts, the War on Drugs, federal education programs, and we would end mandatory Social Security and Medicare.
Today, America is a country that attracts hardworking immigrants from Mexico and around the world, leaving countries that are less free and prosperous. Libertarians welcome these immigrants warmly. But I often wonder if — in 20 years — America will still be a great place to live, or if it will be another declining civilization fraught with poverty and abuse that your children want to leave.
The future of America may depend on the Libertarian Party steering us towards liberty and away from tyranny.
The Libertarian Party is America’s third-largest party, and one of the most successful alternative parties in American history.
We are recruiting bold, principled men and women dedicated to freedom to fill leadership positions and to run for office as Libertarians.
You don’t have to agree with every single Libertarian position to join the Libertarian Party. You can still make a difference and help us move our country towards freedom.
The Libertarian Party has more information at our website, LP.org. Please visit LP.org and join the Libertarian Party today.
Thank you and good night.
For the most part, my comfort zone is pretty close to Hagerstown. I do venture out occasionally, and so far I have survived most of those junkets with minimal emotional scarring, but usually the best part of any trip is getting home.
Susan and I went on a cruise for our 35th anniversary a couple of weeks ago. We flew to the west coast to get on the ship. I’ve never been a big fan of flying, probably because I like to have a little bit of control over my own fate. I never really feel like I do once the plane is in the air. It’s the same feeling I get whenever congress is in session.
I did enjoy the cruise, though. I think it is the only place anybody ever called me sir, and then didn’t follow that by saying “We’re going to have to ask you to leave.”
We met a lot of nice people and learned a few things that we might not have learned if we hadn’t left Hagerstown.
I learned that most people from California don’t think California is going to make it, and that people from up north think I talk like I’m from down south.
I found out a lot of waiters from Indonesia have names that I can’t pronounce, but that the waiter that was taking care of our group was named Willis. That was simple enough. I think he appreciated that my name was Rex, too.
I also learned that if you can’t read the menu, you had better ask someone who can, or you’re liable to end up with a bunch of snails on your plate.
And that’s way out of my comfort zone.
Proverbs 16:18 says: “Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”
I guess that means we need to keep a proper perspective on our blessings and accomplishments, and remember where they really come from. And I’m okay with that, although I will admit to the occasional slip-up.
Last weekend, I was walking through the San Diego Airport, 2176 miles from home, lost in a place I had never been before, frantically searching for A-15,(or was it A-17?), when I came face to face with a couple I knew from Hagerstown.
I’ll have to say that I was awfully proud that I was with my wife!
I had a discussion the other day with a friend who was worried that with a more libertarian government, there might not be enough tax money to maintain a public library. I’m sure he was correct. But that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be a library.
We have several churches in the Hagerstown area. Some of them are bigger than the public library. Some of them have grown larger over the years, and some of them have grown smaller over the years. None of them rely on tax dollars or forced contributions to survive.
And as long as people feel there is a need, I’m confident they will continue to survive.
Apparently my friend has less faith in libraries.
I had the occasion to journey through the Indianapolis International Airport the other day. They have a lot of rules about going into the airport, parking your car, unloading your luggage, loading your luggage, standing in line, getting on your plane, and getting off of your plane. They also have a rule about not smoking. They have a lot of signs up about not smoking, and every few minutes some guy gets on the PA system and reminds us that we can’t smoke anywhere, inside or outside, on airport property.
Since I’m not a smoker, it didn’t create any hardship on me particularly, and besides, I’ve always figured that whoever owned a property had the right to decide if people could smoke on it or not, although I’ll have to admit I’m not sure who made this particular decision on this particular property.
I did happen to notice, however, that while we were sitting on the plane, getting ready to take off, the gentleman who was spraying the de-icer on the airplane’s wings was puffing contentedly away. That didn’t particularly concern me, although it did remind me a lot of the lawmakers we send to Indianapolis and Washington every election.
Congress and our state legislatures are fond of making laws that apply to about everyone except themselves, as well as granting favors that apply to themselves but few others. Congress required that about everybody participate in the Social Security program, save themselves and a few other selected groups and individuals. Our state legislature granted themselves a retirement program that takes $4.00 from the taxpayers for every dollar they contribute.
More recently, the government has been exempting certain groups from the health insurance bill that was passed last year. So far, I haven’t been able to be in one of those groups.
I don’t know about the guy that sprays the de-icer on the planes at the airport.
There isn’t very much in our lives that the government doesn’t tax or regulate. Most people can’t name even three things. A lot of that comes from our politicians’ need to pass a new law with their name on it every time they get together. This is a list of proposed bills this year just in Indiana. Multiply that by 50 states, and then throw in the Federal government’s contribution to the mess.
I wish they didn’t get together so often.
SB 0002 — Authority to solemnize marriages.
SB 0003 — Grandparent and great-grandparent visitation.
SB 0004 — Suicide prevention training for school personnel.
SB 0005 — Synthetic cannabinoids.
SB 0006 — Interstate mutual aid agreements.
SB 0007 — Juvenile DNA testing.
SB 0008 — Use of DNA evidence.
SB 0009 — Consumer protection matters.
SB 0010 — Annexation remonstrance waivers.
SB 0011 — Income tax rate adjustment.
SB 0012 — PERF and TRF administrative matters.
SB 0013 — Income tax withholding.
SB 0014 — Representation of judges in mandate litigation.
SB 0015 — Low carbon and noncarbon dioxide emitting plants.
SB 0016 — Notice of insurance after fire or explosion.
SB 0017 — Exotic animals.
SB 0018 — Handheld communication devices while driving.
SB 0019 — Invasion of privacy by photography.
SB 0020 — State contracts and grants.
SB 0021 — Notice of appropriation and revenue measures.
SB 0022 — Drug and alcohol abuse and commitments.
SB 0023 — Hoosier commission for communities for a lifetime.
SB 0024 — Indiana brain injury study commission.
SB 0025 — Notification of substitution for epileptic drugs.
SB 0026 — Local government reorganization and merger.
SB 0027 — Local debt petition and referendum process.
SB 0028 — Habitual offender charge filing deadline.
SB 0029 — Child solicitation.
SB 0030 — College and university police officers.
SB 0031 — Local option taxes for counties, cities, and towns.
SB 0032 — Vote centers.
SB 0033 — Sheriff’s department survivor benefits.
SB 0034 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0035 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0036 — Horse racing permits.
SB 0037 — Indiana state dairy association license plates.
SB 0038 — Commendation for valor license plates.
SB 0039 — Taxation of civil service annuities.
SB 0040 — Bail.
SB 0041 — Gary riverboats.
SB 0042 — Council on Evansville state hospitals.
SB 0043 — GPS monitoring and parole.
SB 0044 — Homestead assessed value growth cap.
SB 0045 — Coverage for smoking cessation drugs.
SB 0046 — Identification for alcohol purchases.
SB 0047 — Various riverboat matters.
SB 0048 — State highway closings.
SB 0049 — Civil penalties for certain disclaimers.
SB 0050 — Ultrasound before an abortion.
SB 0051 — Identification requirements for alcohol purchases.
SB 0052 — Unauthorized adoption facilitation.
SB 0053 — County employment opportunity fee.
SB 0054 — Local regulation of video service franchises.
SB 0055 — No smoking public question.
SB 0056 — Child care regulation.
SB 0057 — Synthetic cannabinoids.
SB 0058 — Executive sessions.
SB 0059 — Credit agreements.
SB 0060 — Local government issues.
SB 0061 — School board elections.
SB 0062 — Local option income tax adoption dates.
SB 0063 — Suspension of local officeholders from office.
SB 0064 — Government reorganization.
SB 0065 — Out of network health provider payments.
SB 0066 — Amend definition of “renewable energy resources”.
SB 0067 — Procedures in administrative proceedings.
SB 0068 — Changing a town into a city.
SB 0069 — Annexation.
SB 0070 — Public access issues.
SB 0071 — Coal bed methane and other oil and gas issues.
SB 0072 — Carbon dioxide pipelines and eminent domain.
SB 0073 — Thirteenth check.
SB 0074 — Guardianships.
SB 0075 — Presidential electors.
SB 0076 — PERF administrative matters.
SB 0077 — Adult guardianships and protective proceedings.
SB 0078 — Identification requirements for alcohol purchases.
SB 0079 — Motor fuel theft.
SB 0080 — Public inspection of provisional ballot materials.
SB 0081 — Challenges to a candidate’s eligibility.
SB 0082 — Age of candidate for state convention delegate.
SB 0083 — Child concealment.
SB 0084 — Confidentiality of motor vehicle accident reports.
SB 0085 — Study of schools with low graduation rates.
SB 0086 — Unemployment benefits qualifications.
SB 0087 — Contracts for dental services.
SB 0088 — Various mental health issues.
SB 0089 — EMS provider criminal history checks.
SB 0090 — Criminal law and sentencing policy study committee.
SB 0091 — Henry and Madison unified circuit courts.
SB 0092 — Use of telecommunications device while driving.
SB 0093 — Concussions and head injuries in student athletes.
SB 0094 — Purchase of rifles and shotguns.
SB 0095 — Towing services.
SB 0096 — Cass County deputy prosecuting attorneys.
SB 0097 — Funding of lawsuits.
SB 0098 — Logansport State Hospital staff and patient levels.
SB 0099 — State contractor accountability.
SB 0100 — Actions based on exposure to hazardous substances.
SB 0101 — Driver education issues.
SB 0102 — Utility recovery of federally mandated costs.
SB 0103 — Schedule methamphetamine precursors.
SB 0104 — Barrett law funding for retention pond barriers.
SB 0105 — Adjustments of debt of a political subdivision.
SB 0106 — Computer facility property tax exemption.
SB 0107 — Disposal of state owned real estate.
SB 0108 — Sales of motorcycles on Sunday.
SB 0109 — Vote centers.
SB 0110 — Voyeurism.
SB 0111 — Child seduction.
SB 0112 — Alcoholic beverage wholesalers.
SB 0113 — Confined feeding operation approvals.
SB 0114 — Qualifications of presidential candidates.
SB 0115 — Don’t Tread on Me license plate.
SB 0116 — Abortion coverage by qualified health plans.
SB 0117 — Damage from methamphetamine lab as arson.
SB 0118 — Ordinances regulating fertilizers.
SB 0119 — Covenant marriage.
SB 0120 — Antique motor vehicle issues.
SB 0121 — Allen circuit court.
SB 0122 — Election day per diem.
SB 0123 — Use of private services for tax bill delivery.
SB 0124 — Sales tax on vehicle discounts.
SB 0125 — Public records and public meetings.
SB 0126 — Public education donation tax credit.
SB 0127 — Driver education.
SB 0128 — City and town courts.
SB 0129 — Parole eligibility for certain crimes.
SB 0130 — Media production expenditure tax credit.
SB 0131 — Possession of firearms at petroleum refineries.
SB 0132 — Charity gaming workers.
SB 0133 — Identification requirements for alcohol purchases.
SB 0134 — Grandparent and great-grandparent visitation.
SB 0135 — Maximum property tax levies in Lake County.
SB 0136 — Legislative mailings.
SB 0137 — Maximum property tax levies in Lake County.
SB 0138 — Physical examination before cosmetic surgery.
SB 0139 — Fire protection district per diem.
SB 0140 — Employment noncompetition clauses by hospitals.
SB 0141 — Texting while driving.
SB 0142 — Expungement of certain conviction records.
SB 0143 — Corporal punishment by parents.
SB 0144 — Retailer permits in annexed areas.
SB 0145 — Sunday sales of motor vehicles.
SB 0146 — Disposition and interment of human remains.
SB 0147 — Handgun licenses and shooting ranges.
SB 0148 — Inheritance tax and estate tax.
SB 0149 — Allen superior court elections.
SB 0150 — State party campaign expenditures.
SB 0151 — Precinct committeemen.
SB 0152 — Synthetic cannabinoid.
SB 0153 — Disabled veteran hunting and fishing licenses.
SB 0154 — Firearms on off-road vehicles or snowmobiles.
SB 0155 — Tax liens.
SB 0156 — Public intoxication.
SB 0157 — Great Lakes task force.
SB 0158 — Local income tax reports.
SB 0159 — Air pollution tailoring rules.
SB 0160 — Employer purchased insurance.
SB 0161 — Ballot placement of public questions.
SB 0162 — Enforcement of wage requirements.
SB 0163 — Siting of composting facilities.
SB 0164 — False statements to state agencies.
SB 0165 — Economic development incentive accountability.
SB 0166 — Local government employment.
SB 0167 — Nepotism; public employee holding elected office.
SB 0168 — State contracting with disabled veterans.
SB 0169 — Probate, trusts, and transfer on death transfers.
SB 0170 — Health coverage for certain disabled officers.
SB 0171 — School start date and calendar.
SB 0172 — PERF board membership.
SB 0173 — Property tax deduction for new homes.
SB 0174 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0175 — Hospital employee influenza immunization.
SB 0176 — Teacher training.
SB 0177 — Unused medication.
SB 0178 — Outpatient treatment requirements.
SB 0179 — Applications for federal grants.
SB 0180 — Limited partnerships and liability companies.
SB 0181 — Fire protection territories.
SB 0182 — Evaluation of agencies and programs.
SB 0183 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0184 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0185 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0186 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0187 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0188 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0189 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0190 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0191 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0192 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0193 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0194 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0195 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0196 — Head Start employment and unemployment benefits.
SB 0197 — Alcoholic beverage matters.
SB 0198 — Student health measurements.
SB 0199 — County hospital matters.
SB 0200 — Environmental general permits.
SB 0201 — Libraries.
SB 0202 — Environmental approvals and other issues.
SB 0203 — Henry County courts.
SB 0204 — Environmental crimes.
SB 0205 — Capital ratio requirement for public depositories.
SB 0206 — Court reporter licensing.
SB 0207 — Use of consumer reports for employment purposes.
SB 0208 — Public intoxication.
SB 0209 — Access to supplemental nutrition assistance.
SB 0210 — Minority and women’s business enterprises.
SB 0211 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0212 — Trial court jurisdiction; county courts.
SB 0213 — Courts and court officers.
SB 0214 — State use of contingency fee counsel.
SB 0215 — Forfeiture.
SB 0216 — Access to child pornography in criminal discovery.
SB 0217 — Official misconduct.
SB 0218 — Developmental disabilities.
SB 0219 — Evaluation of appointments of major agency heads.
SB 0220 — Use of consumer reports for employment purposes.
SB 0221 — Explanation of proposed constitutional amendments.
SB 0222 — Transportation and logistics income tax credit.
SB 0223 — Medical licensing board investigations.
SB 0224 — Physical therapists.
SB 0225 — Occupational therapist changes.
SB 0226 — Payment plan for driver’s license reinstatement.
SB 0227 — Licensure of heating and cooling industry.
SB 0228 — Legislative study committees and commissions.
SB 0229 — Battery on a security officer.
SB 0230 — Transferring a child at a neutral location.
SB 0231 — Motor vehicle repair insurance claims.
SB 0232 — Public mass transportation fund.
SB 0233 — Homestead assessed value growth cap.
SB 0234 — Homestead property tax bill cap.
SB 0235 — Regional water, sewage, or solid waste districts.
SB 0236 — Septic tanks and sewer systems.
SB 0237 — Digital photographs on state identification cards.
SB 0238 — Public transportation corporation tax levies.
SB 0239 — License plates on trucks with forklifts.
SB 0240 — Speech-language pathologists.
SB 0241 — Coverage of elective abortions.
SB 0242 — County sheriff compensation.
SB 0243 — Common construction wage on school projects.
SB 0244 — Penalty for serving alcohol to minor patron.
SB 0245 — Prenatal substance abuse commission.
SB 0246 — Class action consent.
SB 0247 — Volunteer fire department recovery of costs.
SB 0248 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0249 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0250 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0251 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0252 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0253 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0254 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0255 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0256 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0257 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0258 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0259 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0260 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0261 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0262 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0263 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0264 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0265 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0266 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0267 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0268 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0269 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0270 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0271 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0272 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0273 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0274 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0275 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0276 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0277 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0278 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0279 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0280 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0281 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0282 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0283 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0284 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0285 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0286 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0287 — Adult education.
SB 0288 — Hoosier youth corps program.
SB 0289 — State purchasing preferences.
SB 0290 — Prohibition of abortion.
SB 0291 — Indiana firearms freedom act.
SB 0292 — Preemption of local firearm regulation.
SB 0293 — License branch contractor insurance.
SB 0294 — Probationary teacher contracts.
SB 0295 — Technical corrections bill.
SB 0296 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0297 — Vehicle Bill.
SB 0298 — Application of foreign laws.
SB 0299 — Library boards.
SB 0300 — Automatic renewal clauses in consumer contracts.
SB 0301 — Automated record keeping fee.
SB 0302 — Nepotism; public employee holding elected office.
SB 0303 — County government reorganization.
HB 1013 — Immunity for fast responders.
HB 1014 — Standing committee appointments.
HB 1015 — Long term care insurance commissions.
HB 1016 — Juvenile alcohol offenses.
HB 1017 — Unused medication.
HB 1018 — Smoking ban in public places.
HB 1019 — Training for child suicide prevention.
HB 1020 — Extends commission on mental health for five years.
HB 1021 — Indiana brain injury study commission.
HB 1022 — Officeholder qualifications.
HB 1023 — Insurance proceeds set aside.
HB 1024 — Notice of foreclosure to property insurers.
HB 1025 — Public official bonding.
HB 1026 — Transferring a child at a neutral location.
HB 1027 — Policy change notices.
HB 1028 — Employee’s right to work.
HB 1029 — Evaluation of appointments of major agency heads.
HB 1030 — Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
HB 1031 — Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
HB 1032 — Video service options.
HB 1033 — Police and firefighter residency.
HB 1034 — Immunizations by pharmacists.
HB 1035 — Logistics development incentives.
HB 1036 — Exemption from hunter education course.
HB 1037 — Adoption subsidies for children in foster care.
HB 1038 — Industrial development fund.
HB 1039 — Nanotechnology initiative.
HB 1040 — Support obligations while incarcerated.
HB 1041 — Lake superior court county division.
HB 1042 — Dissemination of sexual material.
HB 1043 — Employee’s right to work.
HB 1044 — Motor vehicle occupant restraint systems.
HB 1045 — Veterans’ home.
HB 1046 — Property tax deduction for new unsold residences.
HB 1047 — Study audit requirements for service providers.
HB 1048 — 1977 fund.
HB 1049 — Environmental review of hydraulic fracturing.
HB 1050 — Texting while operating a motor vehicle.
HB 1051 — Versailles Lake task force.
HB 1053 — Law enforcement academies.
HB 1054 — Crimes outside Title 35.
HB 1055 — Adult guardianships and protective proceedings.
HB 1056 — Variable local option income taxes.
HB 1057 — Real property reassessment.
HB 1058 — Homeowners associations.
HB 1059 — Chromated copper arsenate treated wood issues.
HB 1060 — Sales tax holiday.
HB 1061 — Paramedic licensing.
HB 1062 — Basic health insurance coverage.
HB 1063 — Individual out-of-state health insurance.
HB 1064 — Burial of veterans.
HB 1065 — Property taxation of annexed agricultural land.
HB 1066 — Abandoned housing.
HB 1067 — Public works projects.
HB 1068 — Public safety officer personal information.
HB 1069 — Straight ticket voting.
HB 1070 — Flu shots for child care center workers.
HB 1071 — Anatomic pathology services.
HB 1072 — IURC review of certain water rates.
HB 1073 — Immunizations by pharmacists.
HB 1074 — School board elections at general election time.
HB 1075 — Do not resuscitate declarations.
HB 1076 — Panhandling.
HB 1077 — PERF board membership.
HB 1078 — Application of foreign law.
HB 1079 — Veteran’s records.
HB 1080 — Health plan access to providers.
HB 1081 — Farm wineries and direct wine sellers.
HB 1082 — Off-road vehicle registration.
HB 1083 — Child solicitation.
HB 1084 — Nursing home employee and resident protection.
HB 1085 — Public employee paid leave.
HB 1086 — Deduction for blind or disabled dependent.
HB 1087 — Motor vehicle operation penalties.
HB 1088 — Identification requirements for alcohol purchases.
HB 1089 — Referenda on hospital bonds and leases.
HB 1090 — Off-road vehicle and snowmobile facilities.
HB 1091 — Exempt farm drainage components from sales tax.
HB 1092 — Charity gaming.
HB 1093 — Serving alcohol during the Indiana state fair.
HB 1094 — Public work projects.
HB 1095 — Property tax deduction for mortise and tenon barn.
HB 1096 — Fire protection territories.
HB 1097 — Lake management work group.
HB 1098 — Regional water, sewage, or solid waste districts.
HB 1099 — Compression release engine brakes.
HB 1100 — Ban sex offenders from public libraries.
HB 1101 — Reporting student absence from school.
HB 1102 — Possession or manufacture of synthetic cannabinoid.
HB 1103 — Tax sales.
HB 1104 — Battery on a utility worker.
HB 1105 — Vote centers.
HB 1106 — Park superintendent qualifications.
HB 1107 — Preventative programs for at-risk children.
HB 1108 — Certain sex offenders and school property.
HB 1109 — Military service information on BMV documents.
HB 1110 — Driver education.
HB 1111 — Drug regimen protocols.
HB 1112 — Land application of industrial waste products.
HB 1113 — Authorized emergency vehicles.
HB 1115 — Notice to landlords of delinquent utility bills.
HB 1116 — Collection of DNA evidence.
HB 1117 — Display of license plates.
HB 1118 — K-12 school building plans.
HB 1119 — Joint legal custody.
HB 1120 — No smoking public question.
HB 1121 — Unused medication.
HB 1122 — Assessed value cap for veteran’s deduction.
HB 1124 — Railroad statutes.
HB 1125 — Motorized bicycle financial responsibility.
HB 1126 — Tenant’s right to terminate lease.
HB 1127 — Environmental litigation expenses compensation.
HB 1128 — Hydrogen as a renewable energy resource.
HB 1129 — Use of telecommunications device while driving.
HB 1130 — Opportunity to correct violation.
HB 1131 — Video service franchise fees.
HB 1132 — Farm wineries and direct wine sellers.
HB 1133 — Agritourism liability.
HB 1134 — Confined feeding operation manure.
HB 1135 — Fox or coyote hunting within enclosed area.
HB 1136 — Injuries to or death of an employee.
HB 1137 — Extra heavy duty highways.
HB 1138 — Continuation of wages when serving as a juror.
HB 1139 — Declaration of party affiliation.
HB 1140 — Recall of elected and appointed officials.
HB 1141 — Protective headgear for minors on bicycles.
HB 1142 — Access to supplemental nutrition assistance.
HB 1143 — Credit time for behavior management programs.
HB 1144 — Fire protection districts.
HB 1145 — Lake Station school board election date.
HB 1146 — Flavored tobacco products and cigarettes.
HB 1147 — Employer tax credit for report card conferences.
HB 1148 — Tax sales and penalties.
HB 1149 — Repeal of valuation method for certain property.
HB 1150 — General assembly license plate registration date.
HB 1151 — Physical therapy services without a referral.
HB 1152 — Concussions and head injuries in student athletes.
While it wasn’t a first, it still may have qualified as somewhat unique. On 1/1/11, at 1:11 P.M., a judge performed a swearing in ceremony for 2 other officials. One of the things that made it unique is that the judge was an elected Libertarian, and the officials that were sworn in were elected Libertarians. Susan Bell became the first elected Libertarian judge ever in Indiana in 2003 when she was elected to the Hagerstown Town Court. She was re-elected in 2007. On January 1st, at the Hagerstown City Building, two more recently elected Libertarians stopped by to repeat the oath of office. Steve Coffman was re-elected to the Liberty Township Advisory Board in the 2010 election, and Cheryl Heacox was elected to the Clay Township Advisory Board.
This was only the second time this has happened. The first time was January 1st, 2007, when Susan administered the oath to two newly elected Libertarian officeholders.
One of things that gives me hope is that shortly after Susan was elected as a Libertarian, the legislature proposed legislation that would effectively eliminate town courts. And shortly after Conley Tillson and Steve Coffman were elected to their respective township advisory boards, the legislature proposed legislation that would eliminate township advisory boards.
I figure if we keep electing Libertarians, the legislature will keep eliminating government.
That in itself is a worthy goal.
I ran into my old buddy Stinky Wilmont the other day, and in the course of our conversation, the subject of New Year’s resolutions came up. I asked Stinky if he was going to make any, and he replied that in 2011, he was going to resolve to gain 20 pounds and acquire a few more credit cards.
When I pointed out that those resolutions ran afoul of conventional resolutions, Stinky said that he realized they did, but that he had never had much luck with plans that involved losing weight or trimming his budget. He said he thought he would feel better about himself if he could keep whatever resolutions he made it, and since gaining weight and spending money kind of came naturally for him anyway, it just seemed like the logical way to go.
I started to explain to him that those resolutions probably weren’t in his best long term interest, but Stinky didn’t tend to think that far ahead. Besides, resolutions are kind of like promises to yourself by yourself, so Stinky’s resolutions probably weren’t any of my business, anyway.
But there is a difference between resolutions and promises. For years, politicians have been getting elected by making promises to the voters. A lot of those promises were about money. Sometimes they promised money they didn’t really have yet. Sometimes they had the money and spent it on something they had promised to somebody else. Sometimes they never had the money at all. Most of the time they were promising somebody else’s money anyway.
That’s what happened down in Prichard, Alabama. A while back, Prichard told about 150 city retirees that the city didn’t have enough money to pay them the pensions they were promised. They can still find the people that made the promises, but apparently they’re having trouble finding the people that will keep them.
Prichard, Alabama is just one of many entities across the country that has made promises it cannot keep. Public employee pensions have promised $3.2 trillion that they don’t have. Social Security and Medicare are in the same shape, but on a larger scale, and every day, another 10,000 citizens will turn 65, and get in line for their share of the promises the government made, and hope there are still enough people around willing to keep those promises somebody else made for them.
Over the next few years, we are going to hear a lot of stories about pension plans from all levels of government that have run out of money. Most of the problems will be the result of the government making promises to other people for other people.
We could solve a lot of those problems if we could just take on some personal responsibility, and start making and keeping our own promises.
Maybe that would be a good New Year’s resolution for all of us.
On January 1st, 2011, you will have the opportunity to witness an event that has only happened once before in recorded history.
You may remember that on January 1st, 2007, in Hagerstown, an elected Libertarian Judge swore in two more newly elected Libertarians. It had never happened before, and it has never happened again. Until now.
This Saturday, January 1st, at 1:00 P.M., twice elected Libertarian Judge of the Hagerstown Court, Susan Bell, will swear in newly elected Libertarian Clay Township Advisory Board member Cheryl Heacox, and newly re-elected Libertarian Liberty Township Advisory Board member Steve Coffman.
If you would like to join us in witnessing and celebrating this historic event (again), come on over to the Hagerstown City Building, 49 East College Street.
I’ve penned more than one article about the unsustainability of government pension programs. Recently we heard that Prichard, Alabama had become the first city in the United States to default on its pension plan for retired city workers.
A lot of people preferred to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that this would never happen. But it did happen, and it’s going to happen again.
We have the option of taking the hard stand and weaning people away from unkeepable promises and unmanageable programs, of fully funding and protecting peoples’ retirement accounts, or better yet, allowing people to handle their own retirement.
Or we can keep doing what we’ve been doing.
Four of our five grand children were part of a Christmas program last weekend. (The fifth, Jackson, was still under contractual obligations with another nativity scene.)
During this particular program, the 5 month old that was playing the part of baby Jesus in the manger began to cry, even though that wasn’t in the script. Our little shepherd, Dawson, moved up to the manger and patted the baby’s head trying to console him. That wasn’t in the script either.
I know the best part of Christmas was planned, but some of the best moments aren’t.
I hope you all have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.
I read this story the other day about a couple that willed $6 million to some local charities in Wayne County. The general concensus around the area seemed to be “Wow!”.
It reminded me of a question that John Fund of the Wall Street Journal posed a while back:
“Imagine you won the lottery or otherwise came into a large sum of money, and you wanted to help the poor. You could give $100,000 to a private charity of your choice. Or you could write your check to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Which would you choose — and why?”
So far, everybody I’ve discussed it with has opted for the private charity route.
If I had been in the Kluters’ shoes, I would have chosen different charities. But it was their choice to make, as it should have been.
And I’m sure it will last longer than the two minutes it would take the government to take and spend it.
I haven’t done a lot of traveling in my life. Outside of an occaisonal convention or meeting in some distant state, I stay pretty close to Indiana, and I work pretty close to Hagerstown. Susan and I did manage to take a short cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary a few years back, and we’re planning on another one for our 35th anniversary next year.
The first one wasn’t too big of a big deal. We got on a plane and flew to Florida, and then we got on a boat and floated around the ocean for a few days. Then we got on a plane and flew back home.
The next time, they say I have to have a passport. It kind of looks like my drivers license, so I thought maybe that would work. But they said it wouldn’t, so I gave them some money and they sent me some more papers. I’m not sure if I need it to get on the boat or off of the boat. Maybe both. And we’re supposed to have some more papers to show them at the airport if we decide to fly to the boat again. I’m still up in the air about that one.
Like I said, most of the time we work pretty close to Hagerstown, although occasionally we do venture into neighboring counties. We hadn’t worked in Randolph county for a while, but we started a job up there this week. In the snow:
The last time we worked in Randolph county things were pretty simple. The customer hired us, we did the job, and came back home. This time they told us we had to go up to Winchester and give the county $50.00 for a Certificate of Registration. Well, here it is:
It’s awful official looking, but I’m not sure what it amounts to, other than that Randolph county wanted $50.00 from us. Susan won’t let me tack it up on the living room wall, and I don’t have any more room in my office, so I’m not sure anybody’s going to appreciate how official it looks, or know that we’re duly registered anyway. But we are, just in case anyone asks. I guess eventually it will end up in one of the boxes I keep of a lot of other papers the government told me I needed. I never really knew what most of them amounted to, either.
Thomas Jefferson said that there is a natural tendency for government to grow and for liberty to yield.
And the bigger it gets, the more paper it takes.
I’m afraid one of these days it will wipe us out.